Agni-Pariksha - the moment these two words appear, the picture of Devi Sita comes in our mind. The innocence that endured within, the clearness and uprightness in her conduct, her fortitude that shook the rakshas empire. The term is famously associated with the incident of yuddha kaand in Ramayan when Devi Sita had to testify her chastity, where she sat firm on fire in order to prove so. Since then, any stiff situation where an individuals' sanctity is in dock, this term is coined(not in a literal way though). Neither Agni-Pariksha, nor her banishment can be justified knowing her chastity and divinity but the rationale behind would surely be brought up in near future(as why and how it befell) as a lot has to be understood before we reach there.
This moment, its all about Bharat, as I promised that there is more of Bharat we must know and here it is. He did went through such hardships plenty of times where he underwent in disbelief. In his expedition from Ayodhya to Chitrakoot in order to bring Shri Ram back, he had to prove himself, even to people that were close to him, they all knew him since the day he was born and yet he was the man in dock. Let's review those conditions one by one:
- Kaikeyi - yes, his own mother failed in understanding him. The point that she aspired for Bharat's kingship even after knowing about the tradition that only the eldest prince is crowned, raises doubts. The doubt being, she believed that even Bharat aspires the crown and there, she did the blunders, blunders for which Bharat's image put at stake and after this episode, everybody doubted the poor soul's intentions.
- Kaushalya - when Bharat came back from Kaikeya, he straightway went to meet his mother Kaikeyi only to be cognized about the unfortunate happened. Afterwards, when Kaushalya summoned his presence, he appeared in front of her. Kaushalya was a simple woman, an optimist, even her brain was forced to doubt whether Bharat's intentions were dubious, was he the actual conspirator.
- Vashishtha -After Dashrath's cremation, the royal sages lead by Vashishth straightaway asked Bharat to accept the throne. They didn't cared to take his views on his father's sudden demise, Shri Ram's exile and, whether he was interested in taking over the throne. They were pretty much perturbed with the recent happenings and had no more faith left in him.
- Guh - After Bharat convinced the sages about his intentions those were never desecrated, he was poised to bring his brother back. He planned an expedition and took the royal family, the sages and the prominent people of Ayodhya with him. When they reached Shrangverpur(a district ruled by Guh) the tribals were horrified looking at the gigantic army. Their leader Guh decided to inspect what Bharat was up-to and asked his troops to be ready for the war situation in order to guard Shri Ram. The plight of Bharat was piteous when Guh asked his sudden arrival with a huge army.
- Bharadwaj - When Bharat approached sage Bharadwaj(he guided Shri Ram towards Chitrakoot) along with sage Vashishth, sage Bharadwaj bluntly questioned his intent whether he was there to finish Shri Ram in order to be future safe. Bharat's stream of tears even moved Vashishth and he defended the former answering Bharadwaj on his behalf.
- Lakshmarn - While they were close to Mount Chitrakoot, Lakshmarn saw the royal flag and an enormous army, he predicted it right that it was arrival of Bharat, but reasoned it wrong that he was here to slew them. Lakshmarn's rage is hidden to no one. He pledged to eliminate Bharat along with anyone allied to him. It was then Shri Ram who reprimanded his such behavior and calmed his anger.
No one except Shri Ram and Devi Sita trusted Bharat, those who did were unsure. Kaushalya, Vashishth, Guh, Bharadwaj and Lakshmarn all misunderstood Bharat because of what Kaikeyi did. Though they all were convinced after conversing to him but his heart was broken every time. I know above all given incidents are short in duration and have not much to interest you about.
But, try to put yourself in Bharat's place, what he would have went through every time he visited the people above described. It wasn't just that particular moment he was questioned, but his whole lifespan, his all good deeds were been discarded for something he was not even accused of.
Here we also see the role of Guh and Lakshmarn; both devotees of Shri Ram, both were ready to fight for him. The difference was their attitude and the way they interpret the situation. Guh stayed positive and before making a final opinion, confronted Bharat, whereas, Laksmarn in spite of knowing Bharat, refused to be rational and gave in to his rage. It teaches us one thing, being emotional is okay, but not being rational will only harm you, as it did in Laksmarn's case where he had to face Shri Ram's anger.
One last thing, for the feminists who regularly cry foul to the injustice happened to Devi Sita or with any women; it was never about gender inequality in our legends but about the particular situation. What about the situation when two women conspired against Shri Ram and delivered him to exile. What about the situation when Lakshmarn's character, his conduct that was pure, was questioned and allegations so untrue were imposed on him that brought tears on his eyes. EMPORER Dashrath, fell week against a woman.
"never make an opinion before closely looking at both sides of the situation, you may end in remorse otherwise"
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